"Be the change that you want to see in the world." Gandhi

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What didn't happen on my vacation?

After being gone for 9 months I finally got to go home! A quick little vacation, 10 days, then back to work. It was a surprise trip for a lot of people, my family and friends.


The Stress

During the planning of my trip I found a "cheap" airline, Spirit Air. DON'T EVER FLY WITH THIS COMPANY! They advertise cheap tickets then charge the absolute hell out of you for everything else. I was charged $43 for a checked backpack and $40 so I could bring a carry-on. WHAT?! (No where in my confirmation e-mail did it advise me of charges or where to look for them) Thennnn, after going through security, I bought a $3 water at the airport snack counter, Spirit searched my bag before I got on the plane and made me dump it out so they could charge me another $3 for more water. They were late, disorganized and I've never felt more stress during travel than I did that day. I was so afraid I would miss connecting flights and get stuck...I only had 10 days with my family...or so I thought.

My Baby

So I had a crappy flight. The important thing was I made it to Boston and my family was there waiting. My bags were accounted for, sweet, ready to go home! Then my mom told me that Clancy, our chocolate lab, was dying and wouldn't make it through the day. That was that absolute saddest thing anyone could have told me. He is such a good boy and my baby. I waited 9 months to come back and see him and he was dying. When we got home, he was laying on his bed and wagged his tail when we came in, such a sweet pupppy (a 13 year old puppy). He was so skinny, couldn't walk, didn't want to eat or drink. I sat with him a cried and cried and cried. Later my friend picked me up to go North while my dad took him to the vet. I love my Clancy.
Clancy, Summer 2010 <3


Friends, Family and Fun

Since a bunch of friends and family didn't know I was coming home it was a great opportunity to surprise them. First on the list was Courtney. My sister, myself and our friend James drove up to Laconia. Courtney has a lake house and was up there for the 4th celebrations. I went in through the back and jumped into the living room where everyone was waiting. We all expected her to start screaming but she just sat there looking at me. (What the heck friend! I flew from Costa Rica to surprise you! Do something!) After a minute she just kept saying What? What? What are you doing here?! We hugged, it was great.

We drove back down home the next morning to help set up for the party my mom had been planning. A 4th of July celebration/Julie is back party. Most of the party guests didn't know I was home so there was more fun in surprising people. I spent the day visiting and spending time with my family which I missed.

During the week it was decided that I would extend my vacation by a week, because 10 days was a silly idea and ridiculously short. YAY! The one thing Spirit Air didn't charge me for was to change the date of my return... weird.

The weekend of the 8th I met up with Nicole! We graduated Simmons together and were on the crew team. She planned the whole thing and let me tell you there wasn't a boring moment. Red Sox game at Fenway, Tequila Rian, shopping, restaurants, couples massage, Park Plaza Hotel! 

The only draw back to my visit home was that my stomach was constantly acting up. No, I will not go to the doctors during my vacation, so that was that.

The Surprise

As the extended part of my vacation came to a close, I packed my bags and went out for one last meal with my parents and sister. Bertucci's...pizza and ice cream, that's right! It was so hard getting to sleep my last night. I probably would consider it more of a nap, because I had to be out the door at 3am to make it to Boston and on my flight. I rolled over on my stomach and what a mistake that was. All of a sudden my chest was on fire. One minute the pain wasn't there and BAM! It was burning, burning, burning. I couldn't breath and I was sweating. I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone. It never lets up for a second. It starts horrible and stays horrible the whole time. (I've broken bones before...I would take a broken arm to that any day) The pain from my chest spread to my back and that's when I went to my parent's room. Give me something, anything to make it go away please please please. To be fair my mom was telling me all vacation to go to the doctor because of past episodes of pain I had while in Costa Rica as well as my stomach issues while home. She told me it was my gallbladder, she should know, hers was taken out years ago. I went back to my room. I'll just put the a/c on an wait it out, if I miss my flight I'm screwed. I opened a bottle of milk of magnesia and took shots...nothing. Still sweating and shaking and I'm going to die, I'm going to die of pain... so I gave in. Take me! Hospital! Run the red lights!

We got to the ER around midnight...I still have 3 hours until I need to go to Boston...we're good. It was like a reunion with all your old friends. My mom is a nurse and worked 10 years in the ER before she transferred to endoscopy last year. I waited a few minutes while my mom registered me and spoke with the nurse. Then went back to a room. Blood was drawn, then beautiful, glorious, most magnificent pain meds were given, Diloded. Thank you tiny baby Jesus. Everyone said, yes most likely your gallbladder. However, the hospital is relatively small and the ultrasound tech goes home around 6pm, so I had to go home and come back in the morning to confirm and decide where to go from there.

As soon as I get up from the bed, I feel like  absolute s**t. The pain in my chest and back was gone, instead I feel like I could barf all my insides onto the floor. Lets just go, go to the car now, I'll lay back and feel better.  The nurse asks if I want to stay and hands me a bucket as I'm walking out the door. Thanks but no, I'll feel better at home. WRONG. I make it to my room and puke my brains out, lucky my mom the nurse has cat like reflexes, no a drop outside the bucket. I lay down, but don't sleep. Diloded makes me itchy as hell, then it wears of an pain pain pain again. I'm thirsty but can't drink anything in case of surgery the next day. We go back to the hospital earlier than my schedules appointment with ultrasound, maybe I can get the images soon and check back into the ER. That would be marvelous! Finally some luck because they take me early and I'm done with the ultrasound in 20 minutes and back in the ER 5 minutes later. This time instead of Diloded I get my best friend Morphine. She is a good friend. I feel brand new! No pain, no nausea no itching, it's fabulous! From there things go quickly- yes its the gallbladder complete with stones, thickening of the walls and an infection. All of which means surgery and I am so ready to get it out and be done with the trouble of it all. Sign this, initial that, have you eaten? No. Anything to drink? No. Great, ready to go then. My dad took the day off from work (he is also a pharmacist and worked in the hospital with my mom until a few years ago when he decided Siemens was a better fit). My poor sister had slept through the entire ordeal and was still at home sleeping, having no idea I'm in the country still or about to have surgery, surprise! She comes and sees me before I go under. I get a little extra medication and I'm in the OR. The last thing i remember is moving myself from the ER bed to the table and giving my apologies for flashing everyone. Those gowns are not the concealing type and slide so quickly.

I vaguely remember waking up and feeling sick, then getting sick and blacking out again. I stay over night. There is pain, but different from the burning and this time there is a nurse to shoot up my IV. Breathing deeply is out of the question, laying down is best and I'll just hold my pee because no way am I moving out of this bed. I get these two blankets rapped around my legs that give massages. How awesome! But really its to keep up my circulation. Oh those silly blood clots.

The next day I eat...more like drink, some broth and jello. That's about all I can handle anyways. I slip in and out of sleep all day. There are some visitors. I get a pillow pet! No idea what that was until I was given one. That little guy was my sidekick! I used him to hold against my sutures when I needed to cough or move, which helped so much. By that night I could get up to walk to the bathroom. What an accomplishment! I felt well enough to go home, after all home comes complete with a nurse and pharmacist, no problem in that. I get some Vicodin for the road and off we go. Throughout the next week all I do is sleep, watch a movie, eat a popsicle, sleep, watch a movie, eat a popsicle and its wicked awesome! Two weeks pass and I can walk around no problem, I get tired easily, no heavy lifting and all that, but I feel much better. I got 3 weeks added to my already extended vacation, which I was thankful for in more ways then one.

My House

The last eventful moment to my vacation was that my parents sold our home! Something they have been trying to do for a few years, but the market hasn't exactly favored those trying to sell. The best part is that they are moving to one of my favorite places, BOSTON! Looks like when I go home for Christmas I will be living in an apartment in Brighton across the street from my sister's new high school, St. Joseph's.

End of Vacation

Peace Corps Medical clears me to go back to Costa Rica August 11th.


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